Don’t believe us? Come on in and take the 360-degree model of Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind for a spin.
There’s arguably no animation company in the world that’s as committed to doing thing the old-fashioned way as Studio Ghibli. It won’t be until later this year that the Hayao Miyazaki-founded anime production company releases its first CG anime, and only then with director Goro Miyazaki specifically avoiding any input from the “old men” of the company.
But you can’t blame Ghibli’s founding fathers for being so committed to pencils, pens, paints, and paper, can you? I mean, take a look at these cels of Nausicaa, star of Hayao Miyazaki’s 1984 classic Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. There’s just no way you could get this feeling of soft warmth, the very thing that make the character seem alive, from digital assets, right?
Except…these aren’t cels at all. They’re views of a 3-D CG model created by Sketchfab user Granicoph. Don’t believe us? Here, see for yourself with “Nausicaa in Toxic Jungle,” which lets you view the model from any angle or zoom you want.
It’s absolutely mind-boggling how closely Granicoph’s model replicates the look and feel of hand-drawn/painted character artwork. There isn’t a single jagged edge to the Ghibli warrior princess, and the cel shading techniques applied to the model’s contours incorporates a variety of thicknesses, giving the feel of pencil strokes that taper off or gain strength as an artist changes the amount of force being applied at each point along the line. Then there’s the color, which has a liquidy quality to it reminiscent of physical pigment, but still contrasts that are stark enough to have come from an analog artist working from a paint palette, not the millions-of-hues-at-a-few-keystrokes realm of CG.
This is actually Granicoph’s second CG model of Nausicaa, with his first, simply titled “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” showing her out for a ride on her iconic glider.
These are Granicoph’s only two postings on Sketchfab so far, but he also has a website here with a few more examples of his work (including a few Legend of Zelda pieces). Roughly six months passed between the completion of his two Nausicaa projects, so it might be a while before he see what he has planned next, but even if we’ve got a long wait ahead of ourselves, we don’t think we’ll get tired of plating with these models anytime soon.